Modern-day storytelling ranges from the age-old tradition of oration to the modern take of 140 characters. But what happens when the story is a mix of old and new and is intended for an audience that ranges from elementary school students to centenarians? That’s where ESI Design, a firm dedicated to enriching the human experience, steps in. ESI was founded in 1977 by Edwin Schlossberg. Their unique focus on melding traditional techniques with modern technology made them the perfect fit to design the recently launched Peopling of America Center at the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration.
The center–conceived with the vision and support of the Statue of Liberty – Ellis Island Foundation and its president Stephen Briganti and the National Parks Service–highlights journeys undertaken before Ellis Island opened in 1892 with “Journeys: The Peopling of America – 1550s-1890,” which opened in 2011. On May 20th, another wing called “The Journey: New Eras of Immigration” opened to give visitors the chance to look at immigration that took place after Ellis Island closed in 1954.
One of the visionaries at ESI is senior designer of media and technology Michael Schneider. For the Peopling of America Center, he was responsible for figuring out which of the available technologies worked best for the new exhibits and their audience. We recently spoke with Michael to learn how ESI approaches storytelling and, specifically, how the firm designed the galleries for the Peopling of America Center.